Cupcake XY Stage Installation

This page is part of the CupCake CNC build sequence.


Installing the XY stage should take under thirty minutes.

Parts List

  • XY Stage (assembled earlier)
  • 4 laser-cut rod covers (marked 'rc')
  • 2 smooth X rods
  • NEMA17 stepper motor
  • small aluminum pulley
  • 4 M3 10mm bolts
  • 16 M3 16mm bolts
  • 16 M3 nuts
  • M8 50mm bolt
  • 2 M8 nuts
  • Idler pulley

The lasercut rod covers are in the Cupcake CNC Lasercut Parts box.
The rods are in the Drive Rod Kit.
The NEMA17 motor was bubble-wrapped with the other motors.
The pulleys are in the Belt, Bearing and Pulley bag.
The remaining bolts & nuts are in the Hardware Burrito bag.


Install motor

  • Mount the small aluminum pulley on the motor shaft. The fit will be very tight, so be patient; you may need to sand the inside of the pulley or the shaft slightly. Mount it with the set screw side facing the motor body, with about 3-4mm between the pulley and the motor. Tighten the set screws once the pulley is position.
  • Install the motor in the underside of the middle plate. Place the motor so that its wires are facing towards the outside of the bot. As always, be sure to use 10mm long bolts, not 16mm long bolts! Using the wrong bolts can jam or damage your motor.

Install idler

  • Put the idler pulley on the 50mm M8 bolt with the collar facing the head of the bolt. Thread an M8 nut on the bolt and tighten it as far as it will go.
  • Insert the idler pulley bolt in the slot in the left side of the middle plate of the bot. Use an M8 nut to loosely attach it, but do not tighten it.

Install XY assembly

  • Install two rod covers, labeled 'rc', on the right side of the bot using four bolts each.
  • Place the XY stage in the bot. The idler pulley on the XY stage should face the front of the bot. Loop the belt around the motor and idler pulleys on the bot. Position the belt so that it runs through the wide slot in the bottom of the XY stage, and make sure the stepper wires go through the provided niche.
  • Insert the smooth X rods into the bot by sliding them through the holes in the left side of the machine, through the bearing holes in the X stage, and into the covered holes at the right of the machine. The rods should support the X stage slightly above the middle plate.
  • Pull the idler pulley back until the belt is fairly taut. Make sure that it's not so tight that it prevents the motor from turning and moving the platform readily. When you've got the tension about right, tighten the bolt and nut well with a hex key and a wrench.
Install the second set of X rod end caps.
*TIP* If the rods are too short they will move back and forth causing loss of resolution and additional noise. If this is the case for you, just insert something between the end cap and the rod to help compress it. One reader had success with a dab of glue from the glue gun.

That's it— the XY stage is installed!

Next step: CupCake Z Stage Installation

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